You’d have to imagine Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart would love to get redshirt sophomore tight end Arik Gilbert some playing time. Gilbert is a former 5-star recruit, after all, ranked as the No. 1 tight end in the 2020 class and the No. 5 overall recruit in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite.

Gilbert has the type of talent coaches covet, so it was a big deal when he transferred to UGA from LSU after being named to the freshman All-SEC team for catching 35 passes for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Tigers in 2020.

The problem for Smart, if you want to call it a problem, is that the defending national champions are absolutely stacked at tight end. For as talented as he is, Gilbert finds himself behind sophomore Brock Bowers and junior Darnell Washington (a former 5-star in his own right) on the depth chart.

Unless UGA runs a three-tight-end set, that leaves little opportunity for Gilbert to shine. With that said, it does sound like Smart is willing to let him get opportunities. It just comes down to whether or not he earns them during the week.

“It’s really based on Arik’s performance,” Smart said. “It’s not really based on those guys … That’s all based on how he practices and how he carries over to game day.”

As mentioned, Smart could, of course, scheme Gilbert onto the field, but with so much talent at his disposal on the offensive end — it’s not surprising that someone is being left out.

Gilbert will need to show out in practice in order to jump over either Bowers or Washington for playing time. He certainly has the talent to do it, but his problem is that the players in front of him are equally as talented or better.